European champion Croatia closed the successful year with a 12:10 victory over Montenegro in a friendly game played in Zagreb this evening.
The official friendly match is part of preparations of the teams of Croatia and Montenegro, which gathered in Zagreb yesterday.
Croatia – Montenegro 12:10 (2:1, 5:4, 4:2, 1:3)
Croatia: Bijac, Buric 2, Penava, Krapic 2, Lazic, Bukic, Biljaka, Krzic, Marinic Kragic 3, Herceg, Basic 1, Kharkov 3, Popadic, Grgurevic 1, Rakovac. Head coach: Marelja and Bajic.
Montenegro: Djurovic, Mrsic, Macic, Draskovic 2, D.Banicevic, Da.Radovic 1, Ukropina 1, Gardasevic, Perkovic, S.Cetkovic 2, Matkovic 2, Va.Radovic, I.Radovic, Vujovic. Head coach: Gojkovic
Montenegro arrived with a young team. Most of the guys who represented Montenegro today are members of the domestic clubs. As for Croatia, a few European champions were out of the roster today – Loren Fatovic (who got ill and didn’t arrive in the preparations), Josip Vrlic, Marko Zuvela, Franko Lazic. Head coach Ivica Tucak was in the pool, but he didn’t guide the team from the bench because of feverishness. Tucak’ s assistants Jure Marelja and Zoran Bajic led the team.
Montenegro led just once (1:0), but Croatia responded with two goals quickly and entered the second period leading 2:1. The Montenegrins leveled the score at 2:2 and 3:3.
Croatia got on the winning track scoring three goals within 01:50 minutes in the middle of the second quarter. Captain Krapic opened the series, Kharkov added two goals and the hosts went to 6:3, and Montenegro couldn’t catch up with the European champions.
Late into the third period, Croatia earned a 5-goal advantage (Krapic for 11:6), but Montenegro reduced the gap in the final eight minutes. Montenegro’s Matkovic converted a penalty shot with 01:44 minutes to go and set the final score (10:12).
Centre-forward Goran Grgurevic (who was born in Montenegro) debuted for Croatia today and contributed to the win with one goal (for 12:8 in the 28th minute)
The joint preparations of the two teams will finish tomorrow with morning training. After New Year’s eve, Croatia will go to Budapest, where it will train together with Hungary.